Rowing Machine Drag Factor & Damper Setting Explanation

To know about the rowing machine’s drag factor, one must start by knowing it’s working.

A drag factor is a measurement unit used to calibrate the damper setting.

The drag factor, which is found in the monitor settings on your Concept 2 machine, is used to calculate the rate at which the flywheel slows down and assigns it a numerical value.

Drag is a personal preference based on how you connect to the handle and can be applied to the three most critical factors in the rowing stroke:

  1. Force
  2. Acceleration
  3. Distance

How do Drag Factor and Damper Setting work?

It is critical to remember that each machine will have a different damper setting for the drag factor.

This variability may result from the machine’s flywheel being clean or dirty, as well as its location, as both altitude and temperature can affect the drag factor.

Secondly, one should understand that your optimal drag factor and associated damper setting are subjective.

You can determine this by your connection to the machine and the type of workout you are attempting.

Similar to how gearing on a bicycle affects the feel but not the actual resistance.

The damper setting affects the feel but not the actual resistance.

The smaller the number, the smaller the gearing, and the larger the number, the larger the gearing.

While the damper setting and drag factor are related, they are distinct.

The damper setting is the number on the side of your Concept 2 machine that ranges from 1 to 10.

It controls the amount of air entering and the amount of resistance you feel.

Due to the fact that the damper setting controls the air intake, it is not a precise unit of measurement.

Rowing Machine Drag Factor

Finding the Drag Factor

To begin customizing this information, you must first determine your ideal drag factor.

This is the value you feel most comfortable with and can maintain proper technique.

This drag factor value can be seen on the display of machine. The rowing machine display explanation is very simple. You can easily understand how to read every value on the console.

It enables you to exert the maximum amount of force possible for a specified time without sacrificing form or technique.

To start over, the drag factor must be from 100 – to 130.

On the other hand, the damper setting of 3-5. With that, avoid going into this with too many preconceived notions.

It’s good to start lower, and as your technique improves, try increasing the drag factor and see if you get a better result.

On the water, rowers use a prescribed drag factor during testing and benchmarking to eliminate a variable, rather than having it be their optimal number.

Setting on a Rowing Machine

In a rowing machine, a “10” setting allows for the greatest amount of airflow and thus the greatest resistance.

A “1” provides for minimal airflow and reduces resistance.

If we talk about water rowers, one must use a prescribed drag factor in testing and benchmarking to eliminate a variable rather than its optimal number.

Watch, How to find the Optimal Drag Factor?


As recommended by some guides, a drag factor of 125 is for lightweight men and 130 for heavyweight men.

Considering women on a rowing machine, the drag factor is 100 for lightweight Women and 110 for heavyweight women.

The drag factor in a rowing machine is in the monitor settings of your Concept 2 machine. It is to calculate the pace at which the flywheel slows down and assigns it a numerical value. This is where it all works.

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